So this book [For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America] was officially released [Dec. 11]. Through the efficiency of a shipper I received my copy a few days early and so far I have only had time to skim through it. It looks good, from what I have seen, and I hope to carve out a bit of time later in the month to more carefully read it.
But what I have found interesting in the lead up to this has been a certain amount of push-back I have gotten from several different quarters as I have unapologetically indicated my interest in, and anticipation of the book before its release. My overall interest in Presbyterianism and Presbyterian history is enough to justify my anticipation of this book. But it was further heightened earlier in the year when the author, Sean Michael Lucas, was featured in a documentary produced by Union Presbyterian Seminary called “Division and Reunion.”
The push-back I have received, both in general over my years of blogging and specifically regarding this book, usually can be boiled down to the statement of either “But they ordain (fill in the blank)” or “But they do not ordain (fill in the blank).”
So here is a response and why this book matters in either case.
First, it is easy to just view this as an academic exercise. I am interested in global Presbyterianism, history and polity. That alone is enough for me to be interested in this book.
But let me dig in a little deeper. Please note the subtitle of the book, “The roots of the Presbyterian Church in America.” (emphasis added) What are those roots? It is predominantly the PCUS, one of the predecessor denominations of the current PCUSA. Hate to break it to some of the mainline folks but this is a book that is mostly about your roots too.